PERSONAL INJURY BLOG

Riverside Region Is One of the Most Dangerous Areas for Pedestrians in California

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario region in southern California is listed as one of the most dangerous areas for pedestrians in the country in a new study.

The listing was compiled by Smart Growth America in a new edition of Dangerous by Design. The report spotlighted those cities across the United States in which pedestrians are at the highest risk of being involved in a fatal or injurious accident. The researchers derived the results by analyzing the fatality rate for pedestrians per 100,000 against the percentage of the local population that commutes to work on foot.

Florida was found to be the riskiest state in the country for pedestrians, with large numbers of metropolitan areas considered very risky for pedestrians. The most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians is Orlando. In California, the most dangerous area is the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario region. In this region, the total number of fatalities was 889 between 2003 and 2012, with a danger index of 102.2. In comparison, Orlando's pedestrian danger index was off the charts at 244.3.

Other dangerous areas for pedestrians in California are the Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville region with an adult fatality rate of 390 and a danger index of 81.3. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region in southern California saw 2, 435 pedestrian fatalities during the study period, with a the danger index of 66.9.

Other areas in California that were designated as dangerous for pedestrians include the San Diego-Carlsbad- San Marcos area, the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara region, and the San Francisco-Fairmont-Oakland area.

Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyers have found that much of California's problems with pedestrian safety stem from the lack of adequate pedestrian infrastructure in this state. A heavy motoring culture has meant that infrastructure is geared towards the safety of motorists, with very little thought to the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. That means an increased risk of accidents for an increasing number of pedestrians in California.

Can a Pedestrian Recover Damages If He Was at Fault in the Accident?

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Sometimes, pedestrians may be at least partly to blame for their own injuries in an accident. This is covered under the doctrine of comparative negligence, and under this doctrine, Los Angeles pedestrians may be held partly liable for their own injuries.

That does not mean that they will not recover compensation for their injuries. However, it could possibly mean that the damages could be reduced to the extent of the pedestrian’s own negligence in causing the injuries. For instance, say that a person darted out into traffic, without looking left and right, and was too quick for a motorist to slow down in time to avoid hitting the pedestrian. In such cases, the insurer may claim that the pedestrian was partly to blame for his own injuries, because of his carelessness and failure to look left and right before crossing the street. A pedestrian may be held negligent if he was crossing out of a marked and designated crosswalk at night while wearing black. In such cases, an insurer could successfully argue that the motorist couldn't possibly have seen the pedestrian in time to avoid him.

In such cases, it doesn't mean that the pedestrian will not be eligible for damages at all. It merely means that the damages that he is eligible for will be reduced by the percentage that he's believed to have been at fault. If he is believed to have been 20% at fault, the damages will be reduced by 20%.

Even if have been partly to blame for the injuries that you sustained in an accident, you must speak with a pedestrian accident lawyer in Los Angeles before filing a claim. Many pedestrians make the mistake of simply giving up on the claim, or not bothering to file a claim at all, believing that they will not recover damages since they were at fault in the accident. This is a major mistake.

Older Pedestrians Have Higher Accident Fatality Risk

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Every year, more than 4,000 pedestrians suffer fatal injuries in accidents across the country. Those numbers have stayed more or less consistent, even though the number of people being killed in traffic accidents across the country has been dropping over the past couple of years. A new study finds that older pedestrians involved in accidents are at a much high risk of being killed.

The study was based on an analysis of accident data between 2001 and 2010, and found that senior citizens above the age of 75 had an accident fatality risk that was more than double the fatality rate for pedestrians who were below 34 years of age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the analysis, believes that the number of senior pedestrians killed in accidents could actually increase over the next few years, as the number of older pedestrians on our streets increases. That is likely to happen with an explosion in the population of seniors in the country. It is estimated that the senior population in the country will increase dramatically over the next couple of decades, leading not just to an increase in the number of seniors at the wheel, but also on the road.

But while Los Angeles pedestrian accident lawyers have found a lot of focus on reducing the number of accidents involving senior drivers, and introducing interventions to help reduce the accident risk of senior motorists, there does not seem to be that much focus on reducing the risk to senior pedestrians.

This is even though senior citizens have been confirmed to be at a much higher risk of senior injuries because of their physical state. Seniors who are injured, may take a much longer time to recover from their injuries, or may never completely recover at all. Severe injuries are also much more likely to leave seniors physically disabled.

Arrests Made after Long Beach Hit-and-Run Fatality

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Long Beach Press Telegram reports that two suspects have been arrested for a hit-and-run last week that killed a 24-year-old woman in downtown Long Beach.

Police arrested a 26-year-old Compton resident who was charged by the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office with vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run. A 26-year-old Bellflower man was also arrested for being an accessory.

According to details released by police, the car seems to have been used as a weapon after an argument between associates of the victim and the two men. Witnesses reported an argument between two groups of people which started in a Pine Street restaurant, spilled outside and, allegedly, ended with one of the men intentionally backing a vehicle into Serena Medina and another person who survived the incident. Medina died shortly after being struck. According to the newspaper report, she was the mother of a 4-year-old daughter.   

An incident in which a driver uses their vehicle as a weapon is just one among many examples of the problem that Los Angeles faces regarding hit-and-run injuries and fatalities. Though most such incidents are the result of negligent or grossly irresponsible behavior, there are too many examples in which murderous intent or road rage is also behind such tragedies. In such cases where criminal charges are brought against someone who caused injury or death, a victim and their family may be entitled to punitive damages. Of course a wrongful death suit for punitive damages will not bring Medina back, but it may send a message about the consequences for using a car as a weapon. 

Another Fatal Car Accident Involving Pedestrians

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On their way home from a baby shower on Saturday night, three pedestrians were hit and killed by an alleged drunk driver. NBC News reports that 40-year-old Anthony Lewis Sanchez is the suspect in the case. He was arrested shortly after the accident for felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter. The victims in this latest incident were three women in the same family: a mother, her 21-year-old daughter and 21-year-old niece.

Though drunk-driving accidents and fatalities have decreased over recent years due to harsh penalties and aggressive publicity about the problem,  pedestrian accidents throughout southern California continue to rise despite increased attention paid by local authorities. One of the reasons may be that southern California does not have adequate pedestrian infrastructure throughout its urban centers.

After this most recent crash, a witness lamented that the nearest crosswalk from the incident was more than two blacks away. As the urban region of southern California continues to grow, the pedestrian problem will have to be accounted for. More crosswalks, more lighting, more traffic foot bridges over busy streets, and more public awareness of the problem: perhaps with all of that effort, the types of incidents that occurred last Saturday night will become rare rather than routine.   

 

Mayor Villaraigosa's focus on Clean Air and Transportation Safety Position him for Cabinet Post

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

As an outspoken critic of cell phone use while driving, Ray LaHood will be missed by those who believe texting while driving is a serious public health issue. As the Transportation Secretary in President Obama's administration, LaHood took a leadership role in the debate over cell phone use in cars and other problems related to distracted driving. He announced during the week of January 28th that he would not continue as the Transportation Secretary through the president's second term. As soon as a replacement is named and confirmed, he will step down from the post. His replacement may be Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Reports in the the Huffington Post and other media sources have indicated the mayor may be a candidate for the position.  He has been an extremely enthusiastic supporter of the president, was at the inauguration and has made transportation issues a focus of his time as the mayor of LA. His efforts at reducing pedestrian accidents, speeding up road construction, and his commitment to reducing air pollution have all positioned him well for the federal appointment.

Of course there will be critics if Villariagosa is offered the job. He may be particularly vulnerable on the issue of hit and run pedestrian accidents. Some say he has not done enough to acknowledge and alleviate the city's epidemic of hit and run crashes that involve pedestrians.  But he has made many public appearances that indicate this issue is important to him and his administration. He has also taken some concrete actions to improve safety on city streets including redesigned crosswalks designed to improve visibility.

The mayor may also face hurdles due to allegations of ethical problems in the past. The charges related to unreported gifts, nepotism, and controversy surrounding his affair with a television reporter and his subsequent divorce all may create some stumbling blocks for his nomination and confirmation. However, Villaraigosa is nationally popular and is a prominent Latino politician. Whether or not he is offered the position, his efforts to put himself in the conversation indicate that he may have aspirations beyond city leadership.    

New Crosswalks and Pedestrian Safety in Los Angeles

Friday, December 28, 2012

A recent report in the LA Weekly focused a floodlight on the city's under-reported hit-and-run epidemic. Much of that report detailed the catastrophe of vehicle-related pedestrian accidents. Some relief may be on the way for this particular safety hazard. The timing of the latest attempts at keeping LA pedestrians safe is incredibly coincidental in light of that groundbreaking article; new crosswalks will soon be emerging throughout LA.   

LADOT announced that more than 50 of these new crosswalks will eventually take their place across the city before summer 2013. The first of these "continental crosswalks" has already been installed downtown at 5th and Spring streets. Mayor Villaraigosa held an unveiling ceremony at that crosswalk and re-affirmed his commitment to a "transportation renaissance" in LA in his remarks to the press. Designed to increase visibility of pedestrians, the crosswalks may symbolize the mayor's recognition of a very serious problem.

He has made transportation safety and efficiency a focus of his public remarks recently. At the unveiling of the crosswalk he said "We are doubling the size of our rail network, making improvements to traffic flow and adding new bikeways" and  "we need to ensure that no one gets left behind. This focus on pedestrian safety is part of our efforts to create a 21st century transportation network that works for everyone."

Rather than traditional crosswalks that are simply bordered by bright white lines, these new crosswalks are lined with strips of bright white or yellow paint. Pedestrians will be walking on these horizontal lines as they cross rather than, as in the past, on asphalt that is colored in the same as the surrounding street.

Crosswalks to be upgraded were selected based upon risk factors and data collected over the years which indicated a high number of collisions. Only data will show whether or not the mayor and the city's efforts will be worth the effort and cost. Though the painting of crosswalks is a fairly modest step, perhaps it signals a change in direction for the new year. The new direction may indicate that safety on LA streets is a priority.  

Five People Injured in Senior Driver-Related Accident

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Police are still investigating a number of factors that could have caused an accident involving a senior driver in Manhattan Beach recently. The motorist lost control of his car and crashed into at least 3 vehicles, injuring 5 people in the process.

Police believe that the brakes on the white Cadillac being driven by the motorist likely failed, contributing to the accident. The vehicle crashed through at least 3 concrete barriers and 3 vehicles, traveling at least halfway down Manhattan Beach before finally come to a stop. Five people were injured in the series of mini-accidents that occurred along the way.

According to witnesses, the driver seemed to be honking his horn desperately, after he realized that he had lost control of the brakes and was unable to stop. He crashed into a van first, and then hit another car and 3 concrete pylons which had been placed at the pier’s entrance. The elderly motorist is believed to be unhurt.

Brake failure is likely to be one of the major factors included in this investigation. Malfunctioning car components like brakes, steering, wheels, and tires can be a major factor in automobile accidents. In some cases, these malfunctioning components may be the result of a manufacturing defect. In other cases, a Los Angeles car accident lawyer may find during investigations that there was a lack of periodic car maintenance or prompt repairs, which contributed to a mechanical breakdown, and consequently, an accident.

Senior drivers are generally considered some of the safer drivers around, and are involved in fewer accidents compared to, say, teenage drivers. However, accidents involving senior drivers do very often involve motorists losing control of their vehicles. These are often deadly accidents that end in loss of life or catastrophic injuries.

Halloween in Southern California: A Time for Fun and Caution to Prevent Injuries to Children

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

At Halloween, similar injuries to children happen every year: burn injuries that are the result of flammable costumes; slip and falls on neighborhood sidewalks from poorly maintained roads and ill-fitting costumes that drag on the ground; pedestrian accidents that lead to injury and wrongful death are also common. These can arise from negligent drivers who do not see children in dark costumes and excited children who do see cars because of poor visibility from costume masks. Since most trick-or-treating takes place near dusk or just after dark, the dangers are exacerbated by what may be inadequate street lighting. When streets are lined with trick-or-treaters, drivers must take extreme precaution to avoid causing a Halloween tragedy.  

Since California is so densely populated and so spread out with suburbs and track homes dotting the landscape, neighborhoods will be filled with young children looking for candy at the same time that commuters will be returning home from work. The combination can be risky. Safety precautions when crossing streets should be adhered to even more vigorously during Halloween in Southern California.  

Kids aren’t the only people at risk of Halloween-related tragedy. Candles used to illuminate jack-o-lanterns and other festive décor are often the cause of house fires. Children and pets can easily knock such candles over.  Additionally, electrical decorations and outdoor holiday lights often overburden electrical strips and lead to fires. This can put all members of a family at risk.  

For tips on how to stay safe this Halloween, see the Consumer Protection Safety Commission’s website: http://www.cpsc.gov/

Los Angeles Bicyclists Face Higher Risk of Fatal Accidents than the National Average

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

According to a recent study released by the University of Michigan, Los Angeles pedestrians and bicyclists are at at a significantly higher risk of being killed by automobile drivers than the national average. The Los Angeles Times reports that the study shows a much higher risk of death for Los Angeles bicyclists and pedestrians than in other areas with the exception of New York ().

Pedestrians throughout Los Angeles accounted for approximately one third of all traffic-related deaths; this is almost triple the nation’s average of 11.4%. For bicycle accidents that involved automobiles the fatality rate was approximately 3%. That is significantly higher than the 1.7% national average for bicycle accidents that involved motor vehicles. The report does not include data about accidents that resulted in serious injury as the result of Los Angeles area bike accidents. A reasonable assumption could be made that pedestrians and bicyclists in LA are at greater risk of serious injury than the national average.

The Times story also indicates what most Los Angeles bicyclists know: the city spends much more money and effort on keeping automobile lanes running “efficiently” than it does improving bike lanes and taking safety measures that would further aid bicycle safety.  Automobile safety should be important. But cyclists and pedestrians are at such extreme risk that greater safety measures seem imperative.

A Los Angeles automobile accident is always serious. When injuries are involved, the possibility for tragedy looms. But many car accidents do not involve injuries. The property damage, police reports, and insurance negotiations may lead to headaches but these are often the only consequences. When a bike versus car or pedestrian accident occurs, the injuries are almost never minor. Knowing this and having the Michigan study available begs the question: will Los Angeles do more to ensure bicycle and pedestrian safety? 


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